I Still Don’t Want To Be Part of Your Fucking Ecosystem – Terence Eden’s Blog

One of the most popular blog posts I have written is called “I Don’t Want To Be Part of Your Fucking Ecosystem”. In it, I rant against service providers trying to lock their customers into a monoculture.

Panasonic, it seems, are quite happy to ignore customer demand. Once they have your money, they cease to care.

Amazon could use open standards, develop apps which work on the majority of available platforms, and gather millions of customers who actually want their service.

Instead, they’ve gone with the rent-seeking approach of strong-arming their customers into paying more for a service they cannot use and do not want.

Source: I Still Don’t Want To Be Part of Your Fucking Ecosystem – Terence Eden’s Blog

 

Evolving consumer expectations is an interesting point. I think that, to a point, consumers *ARE* owed something by the companies they purchase from, and that point is defined by how free consumers actually are “free to go elsewhere”. Examples:
1) buy a new car -> replacement parts and maintenance supplies for that car should be available for at least 6-10 years because basically no consumer can machine their own
2) buy an operating system -> bug fixes should occur for at least 6-18 months and security patches should occur for at least 2-3 years because basically no consumer can reprogram an operating system (and altering a closed-source OS is illegal)

Similarly, consumers are morally, if not legally, entitled to information as to how a company runs as far as that information is directly relevant to their potential purchase. For example, what if Microsoft liquidated its current inventory of X-Box Ones at half price and then, without warning, terminated all support for the console including discontinuing new game development and operation of the XBox Live online service. Sure that might be legal, but consumers *DID* have a right to know that what they were buying was only a couple months away from being a paperweight.

In America, there are generally 3-5 internet “options”: cable, DSL, cellular (limited and expensive), satellite (limited and expensive), and dial-up (impossibly slow)– there is no competition in cable providers and DSL competition is rare. There are 3 bulk television options: DirectTV, Dish Network, and cable. There are 4 wireless cellular networks: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint. There are 2 high-end smartphone operating systems: iOS and Android (3-4 if you want to count Windows Phone or FirefoxOS). We are not really free to “go elsewhere” for a lot of modern technology because patents, monopolies, oligopolies, and ecosystems are being used to control us by limiting our effective choices. This is not to say that this is harmful to the point that it should be illegal, only to say that it is understandable that consumers may have expectations of customer service and product development for their new technology purchases which are above and beyond those their parents had of a new household appliance 30 years ago.

Control may be a good way to squeeze more revenues out of consumers, but as a society we have known for over a century that corporate control is not in the best interests of consumers or of society. As consumers, we can also be the watchdogs for activity which is objectionable enough that we demand our legislatures make it illegal.

The Demise of U.S. Economic Growth: Restatement, Rebuttal, and Reflections

The United States achieved a 2.0 percent average annual growth rate of real GDP per capita between 1891 and 2007. This paper predicts that growth in the 25 to 40 years after 2007 will be much slower, particularly for the great majority of the population. Future growth will be 1.3 percent per annum for labor productivity in the total economy, 0.9 percent for output per capita, 0.4 percent for real income per capita of the bottom 99 percent of the income distribution, and 0.2 percent for the real disposable income of that group.

Source: The Demise of U.S. Economic Growth: Restatement, Rebuttal, and Reflections

Why Work As We Know It May Be Immoral – Medium

I’m convinced that not only do we as a society work too hard, but we value work too much. Our insistence that work is inherently virtuous doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

Having more of our human workers get replaced by machines is the best thing that could possibly happen to us.

They free up the greatest capital there is — human ingenuity and intelligence — to devise better and more effective ways to solve global problems.

It’s immoral to ask people to work when there’s no work that needs to be done. It’s immoral to create unnecessary labor so people have “something to do”.

“It’s only when we reject the idea that … labor is virtuous in itself that we can start to ask what is virtuous about labor,” [David Graeber] writes. “To which the answer is obvious. Labor is virtuous if it helps others.”

Source: Why Work As We Know It May Be Immoral – Medium

The Economics of Star Trek – Medium

The Proto-Post Scarcity Economy

The thing that never sits quite right with post scarcity economics, though, at least the very little that I’ve read, is that it’s always sort of an all or nothing affair: you either don’t have enough of anything or you have enough of everything. Thinking of this as a mental exercise is kind of fun, I think, but in reality it seems to me that getting from point A — a scarcity economy — to point B — post scarcity — is going to be a long, complicated journey as some things become more abundant in some places, while other things are still scarce.

The key here, to me, is to start thinking about how economics would work when we decouple labor from reward.

The Federation has clearly taken the plunge to the other side of people’s fears about European socialist capitalism: yes, some people might not work. So What? Good for them. We think most still will.

It’s interesting to me because these are things we’re going to have to reckon with, I believe, in my lifetime. If robots do all the dirty work, and the US is hugely rich, does every single person really need a job? Are we going to let all of that money pile up in the 0.1% ruling elite, or can it be distributed to everyone? … What happens when the surplus is more than enough?

Source: The Economics of Star Trek – Medium

Good Samaritan Backfire – Thoughts And Ideas – Medium

or How I Ended Up in Solitary After Calling 911 for Help

Many months have passed since my complaint, and I have no sense of progress.

At this point, I’m left no choice but to present this case to the investigative court of public opinion, be it brave or foolish.

Don’t call 911. Obviously, there are exceptions, but the sad lesson is, there are fewer than you’d think.

Source: Good Samaritan Backfire – Thoughts And Ideas – Medium

The Middle Class Is Steadily Eroding. Just Ask the Business World. – The New York Times

The post-recession reality is that the customer base for businesses that appeal to the middle class is shrinking as the top tier pulls even further away.

In 2012, the top 5 percent of earners were responsible for 38 percent of domestic consumption, up from 28 percent in 1995, the researchers found.

Since 2009, the year the recession ended, inflation-adjusted spending by this top echelon has risen 17 percent, compared with just 1 percent among the bottom 95 percent.

Source: The Middle Class Is Steadily Eroding. Just Ask the Business World. – The New York Times

Scenes from a militarized America: Iowa family ‘terrorized’ – The Washington Post

An Iowa family gets the full-on SWAT treatment for suspected credit card fraud.

When critics (like me) warn about the dangers of police militarization, this is what we’re talking about. You’ll see the raid team, dressed in battle-dress uniforms, helmets and face-covering balaclava hoods take down the family’s door with a battering ram. You’ll see them storm the home with ballistics shields, guns at the ready. More troubling still, you’ll see not one but two officers attempt to prevent the family from having an independent record of the raid, one by destroying a surveillance camera, another by blocking another camera’s lens.

From the images in the video, you’d think they were looking for an escaped murderer or a house full of hit men. No, none of that. They were looking for a few people suspected of credit card fraud. None of the people they were looking for were inside of the house, nor was any of the stolen property they were looking for.

you can’t simultaneously argue that these violent, volatile tactics are necessary to take suspects by surprise and that the same suspects you’re taking by surprise should have known all along that they were being raided by police

Source: Scenes from a militarized America: Iowa family ‘terrorized’ – The Washington Post by Radley Balko